Dessert,  Recipe,  Vegan,  Vegetarian

Brown Butter Caramel Snickers Cookie Bars (Vegan)

Hey, Hey, HEY! I’ve got something to help you guys get over the mid-week slump so obviously that means chocolate is involved!

Oh, and guess what? We got new puppies last weekend! I want to share some pics later this week so I was going to wait to tell you, but I just couldn’t. They are absolutely adorables you guys!


You may remember me mentioning a while back when we got our first two Great Pyrenees pups. No? Well, if not then now you know and I guess it has been a long time now. Whoa, actually now that I think about it it’s been a year and a half! Those two boys have way outgrown their puppy stage now and are ginormous, which makes our two new family members (that are both girl pups) seem even that much cuter in contrast. We’ve been planning to get girls for a while but I had no idea that my parents would surprise us by coming home with them this soon. We’re also planning for these girls to have puppies of their own eventually so we’ll probably be finding a new home for one of our boys soon since two macho males around is not the best idea when it’s daddy time, if you know what I mean.

We completely fell in love with Great Pyrenees as a breed back when we lived in Idaho because at the time we had goats, sheep, and a bunch of other animals on our little family dairy farm. They are incredible as working livestock guardians and even though we don’t have any livestock that we’re wanting these pups to guard, their instinct to protect a herd makes them equally amazing as family pets. When we moved here it took us the longest time to find someone who breeds them in our area so breeding them ourselves in the future is a possibility.

I’ll probably share some snaps of them over the weekend. All right, but now I’m shutting up about pups and talking about these amazing cookie bars that you have to try!

So out of all the recipes that I’ve made for the blog my homemade snickers bars have been near the top of my family’s favorites list for the longest time. If I do say so myself, they’re pretty much amazing and as close to perfection as I can imagine. There are two minor downsides to them though. One, is that they are a little bit more time-consuming to make than most other desserts since and like to use homemade marshmallows, and two, they are so amazingly rich that it can almost be too much for some people’s taste. That’s why I came up with this hybrid cookie bar inspired by them, and it’s a dangerous thing.

You see, adding a layer of cookie helps break up the richness and makes it much easier to eat more than you should. Like I said, dangerous. These have four different layers and the first two have to be baked and chilled before adding the second two, but if you can just have a tiny bit of patience with them guys, they are so worth the extra time.

Also, I’m so excited about this brown butter caramel for this upcoming holiday season! I can already tell you it’s going to be my go-to all season long and probably way after that. Who knew that browning the butter and then making the caramel could be this delish!

I’ve tried a few variations on the filling and the cookie base until I decided this version was the best. Each test was good, but these were what I was going for. If you need something new and different to impress the guests or maybe you are just inspired to try a new crazy decadent treat, these are the answer. I may even go as far as saying they are the best cookie bar ever!

Homemade Snickers Bars (Vegan+GF

Ever wanted to make your own healthier version of your favorite candy bars? These cookie bars take snickers and twix to a whole other level!

Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Cooling Time 30 minutes
Servings 16 bars

Ingredients

Caramel:

  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) vegan butter
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2/3 cup coconut cream see note
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons strong black coffee
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Shortbread:

  • 1 stick vegan butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup + 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

Nougat Layer:

  • 2/3 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 cups gelatin free vanilla marshmallows + 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup natural creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup salted dry roasted peanuts
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter

Top Layer:

  • 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 2/3 cup dairy free semi-sweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate

Instructions

Caramel:

  1. Heat a thick-bottomed skillet on medium heat. Add the butter stirring frequently. Once melted the butter will foam up a bit, then subside. Watch carefully as lightly browned specks start to show up at the bottom of the pan. Smell the butter; it should have a caramely aroma. Now add the brown sugar, coconut cream, syrup, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium low heat. Bring to a soft boil and stir occasionally, scraping sugar from sides of pan, for about 12 minutes or until it reaches 240 degrees F (115C) and starts to get thick and develop a dark amber color. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and coffee then cool for about 10 minutes.

Shortbread:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F (177 C). Prepare your pan by lightly oiling or lining with parchment paper. In the bowl or a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment, or a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat butter and sugar until creamed. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until combined. The mixture will be a little crumbly. Pour the dough mixture into the prepared dish and pat down evenly. Use a fork to dock the dough all over. Bake on the middle rack at 350 F (177 C) until edges are slightly browned, about 15 minutes.

Nougat:

  1. Pour the marshmallows and water into a glass measuring cup and warm in microwave for about 30 seconds. Remove and stir well until the mixture resembles marshmallow cream. Warm 30 seconds more if needed. Once smooth stir in the peanut butter and set mixture aside.
  2. Combine sugar and milk in a small saucepan and bring to a soft boil over medium low heat. Boil for about 5 minutes then remove from heat and stir in salt, marshmallows, peanut butter, butter, and vanilla until melted and smooth. Remove pan with bottom layer from fridge. Add peanuts to nougat mixture and scrape out onto bottom layer. Spread as quickly and evenly as possible. Place in fridge or freezer to cool for at least 15 minutes before adding caramel.

  3. Pour cooled caramel over nougat layer and spread gently and evenly. Place pan back in refrigerator and chill for about 30 minutes.

Top Layer:

  1. Melt 2 tablespoons peanut butter and 1 cup chocolate in the same double boiler until smooth. Scrape out onto chilled caramel layer with a rubber spatula and spread into an even layer. Place pan back in fridge and chill for at least 1 hour before cutting into bars and serving.
  2. These bars are best stored in fridge and served slightly cold or not quite lukewarm because they are a bit soft at room temp.

Recipe Notes

If you have trouble finding coconut cream at your local grocery store it's completely fine to use full-fat coconut milk and scrape the cream off of the top. Just be sure that it's cold enough to separate.

 

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